Roadblocks for tornado-safe homes

Experts blame more than just cost factor

So far this year 546 people died from tornadoes, making 2011 one of the deadliest tornado years on record.

Tornadoes have struck far and wide across the U.S., hitting Joplin, Mo. (166 deaths), Tuscaloosa, Ala. (36 deaths), and even western Massachusetts.

Historically, however, most tornadoes strike in what is colloquially called Tornado Alley, an area of the country between the Rocky Mountains and Appalachian Mountains. That would include both Joplin and Tuscaloosa, but not western Massachusetts.

So, if there is a pattern to tornado activity just as there is a pattern to hurricane activity, the question that often arises is: Should there be mandatory tornado-safety building codes?

After all, how many of us, when we think of tornadoes, envision one striking a mobile home park, blowing apart those manufactured homes as if they were made of cardboard boxes?